Munchak says Hasselbeck deserves to 'finish the job'

Monday, December 19, 2011 at 4:46pm

The season is not finished. Therefore, Matt Hasselbeck is still the Tennessee Titans’ starter at quarterback.

It is as simple as that, according to coach Mike Munchak who, a day after a demoralizing 27-13 loss to the Indianapolis Colts, was unwavering in his belief in the need to stick with the 13-year veteran.

“We’re 7-7 and we’re still in the playoff hunt and he’s the quarterback that got us there,” Munchak said Monday afternoon. “I think that’s what you have to go with — the guy that has the experience, the guy that has been in the playoff situations, the guy that has been to the Super Bowl.

“After what he’s meant to us this year and how well he has played throughout the season for us, yeah I think we have to give him the opportunity to finish the job.”

Hasselbeck started against the Colts despite a calf injury that forced him to the sideline before halftime a week earlier against New Orleans. He completed 13 of 14 throws at one point during the second half but was intercepted twice.

He failed for the third straight game and the fourth time in the last five to throw a touchdown pass. Jake Locker replaced him in the fourth quarter and led a touchdown drive, capped by a scoring pass to Nate Washington.

“We’re happy with Jake, believe me,” Munchak said. “We think Jake’s a very good quarterback, and he’s going to be playing football for a long time for us. Fans are going to love watching him.

“I don’t know how much he’ll play the next few weeks. That’ll all depend on Matt’s health.”

He added that he did not believe Hasselbeck made the calf injury worse by playing on Sunday.

Locker, on the other hand, has rallied the Titans in each of their last three defeats.

Against Atlanta, they trailed by 20 when he entered (23-3) but ultimately lost 23-17. They trailed New Orleans 3-0 when he entered the contest and tied it on his first series. After they fell behind by 12, he directed a touchdown drive and then got the offense within five yards of a game-winning score on the final play.

His first possession against Indianapolis ended with the touchdown that cut a 14-point deficit in half.

“The situations he’s been put into, he’s done a good job with,” Munchak said. “He’s come in in stressful situations and he’s handled himself very well. We’re very proud of that. We’re excited about that.

“Jake hasn’t been asked to play a whole game yet. That’s a whole different situation. He’ll get that opportunity, and he’ll have plenty of starts for us as we go forward in the future. For now, again, unless something changes between now and Saturday or Matt’s not quite what we hoped he’d be, it would be foolish not to play the guy we thought was best to help us win this football game.”

Hasselbeck started 14 games last season for the Seattle Seahawks, who won their division and made the postseason with a 7-9 record. After he led that team to a victory in their first game of December, he lost his next three starts and sat out the regular-season finale.

In his first season with Tennessee, he helped the team to a 7-5 mark following a victory the first week in December, at Buffalo. Since, the Titans have lost two straight.

“We’re still not out of this thing,” Munchak said. “Anything is possible, as you see with the games each week. So we just have to look at it that way. We just have to win our games. We can’t worry about anything else.

“It’s up to us to show what kind of team we have and what we’re all about.”

As they prepare to face the Jacksonville Jaguars on Saturday (noon, LP Field) their only hope for the playoffs is to earn the second wild card. They currently are one of three teams that trail the New York Jets and Cincinnati Bengals by one game in the chase for that spot.

“We have a playoff game this weekend and we feel the quarterback who started the season is the best player to put in right now to help us win this ballgame,” Munchak said. “Is that a knock against Jake? Heck no. We drafted him eight for a reason. I think he’s going to be special for a long time.

“We just want to go out and put our best guys out there, which we think is No. 8 starting and go from there. If we felt that was Jake, that’s what we’d do. Right now, we think if everything is perfect and he’s healthy then the best way to go for this Saturday is Matt playing."

9 Comments on this post:

By: GuardianDevil01 on 12/20/11 at 6:59

The ghost of Jeff Fisher continues to haunt this team. Starting an injured player out of loyalty when there is a better option sitting on the bench is chapter three in his coaching manual.

By: bfra on 12/20/11 at 9:23

When 1 of the Titans got injured, Jeff Fisher was usually 1 of the first, on the field, to see about them. Munchak stands there like, oh well, he will either get up or not. With their record, just what has Hasselbeck done to "deserve" to finish the job ? The losing job ?

By: MusicCity615 on 12/20/11 at 9:48

bfra-

Great point on Munchak not going out to see whether a player is injured or not. I wish we had a different offensive approach. We want to eat up the clock more so than score points. Even without Kenny Britt, we have explosive receivers. We need to throw throw throw and run CJ when the defense is expecting us to throw!

By: bfra on 12/20/11 at 10:15

CJ is not going to accomplish much! He has a bullseye on him for everyone on every team they play. Too much ado was made about his "big" money & they will pull all stops to keep him from getting yardage.

By: WickedTribe on 12/20/11 at 11:08

Mike Munchak is not an improvement over Mike Fisher, and that's scary for this team's future.

By: MusicCity615 on 12/20/11 at 11:43

brfa-

The fact that CJ does have a bullseye on him is all the more reason that we should has a pass first approach. Instead, our "Fisherized" coaches want to run, run, run, eat up the clock, and when 3 to 0.

If defenses know that we are going to pass pass pass, that will open up for CJ.

By: concretemike on 12/20/11 at 1:40

Munchie needs to start firing up the players. Get mad, yell a little at em when they do something boneheaded. Instead he stands there on the sideline stoic like he hasn't a care in the world. Get animated dude and loosen up the collar. The team you have shouldn't be 7-7 with the teams they have beaten....and the teams they have lost to!

Just keep playing the injured Hasselbroke and hold back Locker only putting him in when it's to late for a comeback...that's will surely build up his confidence instead of letting him run the game from the start and win or lose on his terms.

Maybe you should ask CJ for a loan Munchie he had the balls not to show up for camp with two years left on his contract and you blinked. Look at the results....there hasn't been any!

Stop watching the clock and score some points. Note to your coaching staff the winning team always has the most points on the scoreboard!!!! Time of possession doesn't get the trophy!!!!

Time for the Titans to start playing the old song and dance....there is always next year.....sounds all to familiar doesn't it!!!!!

By: Rasputin72 on 12/20/11 at 2:24

People expect far too miuch from this franchise. If you consider 8 and 8 as the best this team can do this year,One should look back on thye 15 years this franchise has been in Tennessee. You should be able to immediately recognize that this franchise is not a franchise like the New York Giants, Dallas Cowboys,Green Bay Packers,New England Patrots. This is a football franchise for beer drinking working stiffs who have adopted the Titans as a means of pleasure while passing through life.

By: T-BONE on 12/21/11 at 1:13

Millions and millions of tax payer money subsidizing this "phootball" fiasco so that fools can live their lives and displaced patriotism vicariously through it! These people get their millions regardless of how they coach well, play well, or don't! All part of "THE DUMBING OF AMERICA"! Bud Adams and the Texas boys are still laughing all the way to the bank on how they "duped" Nashville! ...$ucker$... So suck it up and like it! Bud is running this carnival and he does not care what YOU think!